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JAZZ ROCK/FUSION

A Progressive Rock Sub-genre


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Jazz Rock/Fusion definition


  1. Jazz Fusion is jazz that is strongly influenced by other styles of music. Jazz fusion is an ambiguous term that provides the first level sub-set down from Jazz. Jazz rock is a sub-sub set from jazz via jazz fusion. The ambiguity comes from an American tendency through the 90's and until now, to freely interchange jazz rock and jazz fusion, when in fact the latter term covers most hybrids of jazz fused with other forms of music. The roots of jazz rock can be traced back to RnB influenced soul-jazz artists such as Les McCann, Grant Green and Jimmy Smith, and young British jazzers such as Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, John McLaughlin, Jack Bruce, Georgie Fame, who were forced to use electronic instruments because the local club's acoustic instruments were reserved for the older established jazz musicians. Probably the first jazz artists that released recordings that mixed modern rock (circa 60s) with jazz were Larry Coryell, Jeremy Steig, Charles Lloyd, The Soft Machine, and The (Jazz) Crusaders. Meanwhile rock artists such as Cream, Grateful Dead and The Jimi Hendrix Experience were getting a lot of publicity and fame with their lengthy improvisations based on blues, rock, psychedelia and some jazz. These rock artists had an impact on Miles Davis who generated a lot of media attention to this new jazz-rock genre with his Bitches Brew album. From there the genre grew and exploded into numerous different directions. One of these directions was brass rock as exemplified by bands like Dreams, Chicago, BS&T and If. These bands combined elements of jazz, rock and classical music with arrangements for brass and woodwinds.

  2. Many other styles of music have been combined with jazz to create fusion including traditional music from around the world, R'n'B, rock, electronic music and pop music and jazz from Africa, Latin America, India and other places. One of the earliest examples of the use of the term fusion comes from the Indo-jazz fusion of Joe Harriott and John Mayer. Some of the more popular early practitioners of fusion included Weather Report and Herbie Hancock's Sextant. A few years later Shakti appears on the scene and expands the boundaries of fusion further, foreshadowing the World Fusion movement of the 90's.

  3. In part Nu.jazz grew out of the British acid jazz scene of the late 80s and early 90s, whilst modern leaders of nu.fusion cite Miles Davis and Jon Hassell as the godfathers of the genre. As the genre began to develop it took on other influences such as world beat/jazz fusion, psychedelic trip-hop, post-rock and mixtures of ambience with modern jazz. The jazz with electronia experiments that Jon Hassell was conducting in the late 80's, with the likes of Eno, were to be a major influence especially on the dance side of nu.jazz, sometimes known as nu.fusion. Three main elements make nu.jazz different from the more traditional jazz (rock) fusion. First of all there is less of an emphasis on instrumental virtuosity in nu.jazz (especially nu.fusion). Second, more use of electronics (especially skilled turntablism) and studio trickery that emphasizes sound textures. Third, nu.jazz tends to use more modern rhythms such as drum'n'bass, hip-hop, post-rock, and various mixtures of world beat rhythms. Progressive nu.jazz artists such as Bugge Wesseltoft, Nils Petter Molvaer and the Esbjörn Svensson Trio (E.S.T.), combine complicated compositions with modern rhythms to create new unheard of soundscapes - while the former two are leaders of nu.fusion, and with more emphasis on jazz playing, EST have been the leaders in straighter nu.jazz. Nu.jazz is loosely connected to other newer jazz fusion genres, particularly the more progressive live, jazz jam bands such as Medeski Martin & Wood or Garaj Mahal. It may seem that the only difference between the two genres is the country the artist is from or what scene they came up through.li>

Only the most progressive of nu jazz, jazz-rock and fusion artists are listed on Progarchives, although accceptability or not here may vary from person to person. All artists have elements of progressive rock in their music (e.g. Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Bruford or David Sancious) or they represent the most forward-looking and progressive element in their genre (e.g. Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock or Weather Report). It should be noted that those many Canterbury jazz rock fusion bands, e.g. Soft Machine, Soft Works, Soft Heap, Soft Machine Legacy, Gilgamesh etc. are to be found under the CANTERBURY heading in Prog Archives.

Dick Heath
John 'Easy Money'
Martin 'Alucard' Horst
(Edition 3.2. Nov 2009)

Current Team Members as at 12/24/14

Evolver (Scott)
Man With Hat (Phil)
Darkshade (Mike)
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Jazz Rock/Fusion Top Albums


Showing only studios | Based on members ratings & PA algorithm* | Show Top 100 Jazz Rock/Fusion | More Top Prog lists and filters

4.35 | 813 ratings
KIND OF BLUE
Davis, Miles
4.33 | 1060 ratings
BIRDS OF FIRE
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.33 | 563 ratings
IN A SILENT WAY
Davis, Miles
4.51 | 61 ratings
THE COLOURS OF CHLOË
Weber, Eberhard
4.32 | 221 ratings
HIROMI'S SONICBLOOM: TIME CONTROL
Uehara, Hiromi
4.28 | 461 ratings
SPECTRUM
Cobham, Billy
4.30 | 210 ratings
WE'LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER
Nucleus
4.25 | 783 ratings
THE INNER MOUNTING FLAME
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.24 | 654 ratings
ELEGANT GYPSY
Di Meola, Al
4.24 | 574 ratings
CARAVANSERAI
Santana
4.24 | 527 ratings
BITCHES BREW
Davis, Miles
4.24 | 444 ratings
ABRAXAS
Santana
4.24 | 508 ratings
ROMANTIC WARRIOR
Return To Forever
4.32 | 116 ratings
STADACONÉ
Sloche
4.26 | 206 ratings
LES PORCHES
Maneige
4.30 | 128 ratings
A BENEFIT OF RADIM HLADÍK [AKA: MODRÝ EFEKT & RADIM HLADÍK]
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.30 | 102 ratings
SVěT HLEDAčů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.23 | 259 ratings
ENIGMATIC OCEAN
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.24 | 195 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: THE WAY UP
Metheny , Pat
4.23 | 258 ratings
CROSSINGS
Hancock, Herbie
4.27 | 124 ratings
MILESTONES
Davis, Miles
4.25 | 163 ratings
MAIDEN VOYAGE
Hancock, Herbie
4.27 | 119 ratings
SVITANIE
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt)
4.35 | 64 ratings
L'AXE DU FOU
Forgas Band Phenomena
4.24 | 160 ratings
TILT - IMMAGINI PER UN ORECCHIO
Arti e Mestieri
4.68 | 22 ratings
REALIZATION
Henderson, Eddie
4.41 | 46 ratings
FABULIS MIRABILIBUS DE BOMBYCOSI SCRIPTIS
Kenso
4.20 | 310 ratings
VALENTYNE SUITE
Colosseum
4.30 | 80 ratings
BIG FUN
Davis, Miles
4.39 | 47 ratings
QUALIA
Syrinx
4.25 | 108 ratings
'ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT
Davis, Miles
4.30 | 73 ratings
DARK SHOT
One Shot
4.21 | 157 ratings
WHAT IF
Dixie Dregs
4.52 | 29 ratings
TERJE RYPDAL
Rypdal, Terje
4.22 | 131 ratings
HARAKKA BIALOIPOKKU (AKA B THE MAGPIE)
Pohjola, Pekka
4.20 | 176 ratings
A TRIBUTE TO JACK JOHNSON
Davis, Miles
4.53 | 26 ratings
SPEAK NO EVIL
Shorter, Wayne
4.19 | 147 ratings
J'UN OEIL
Sloche
4.16 | 261 ratings
HYMN OF THE SEVENTH GALAXY
Return To Forever
4.19 | 142 ratings
MYSTICAL ADVENTURES
Ponty, Jean-Luc
4.32 | 51 ratings
LEB I SOL 2
Leb I Sol
4.21 | 95 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: MILES SMILES
Davis, Miles
4.37 | 39 ratings
SUDAMÉRICA O EL REGRESO A LA AURORA
Arco Iris
4.31 | 49 ratings
AGITOR LUCENS V
Arco Iris
4.32 | 48 ratings
EWAZ VADER
One Shot
4.15 | 185 ratings
WHERE HAVE I KNOWN YOU BEFORE
Return To Forever
4.16 | 157 ratings
THE LOST TRIDENT SESSIONS
Mahavishnu Orchestra
4.12 | 306 ratings
SANTANA
Santana
4.15 | 177 ratings
FAIRYPORT
Wigwam
4.25 | 60 ratings
ORGANIK
Niacin
4.15 | 162 ratings
QUANTUM
Planet X
4.27 | 52 ratings
DEDICATED TO YOU, BUT YOU WEREN'T LISTENING
Tippett Group, Keith
4.13 | 216 ratings
AJA
Steely Dan
4.18 | 97 ratings
PAT METHENY GROUP: OFFRAMP
Metheny , Pat
4.20 | 80 ratings
DEDALUS
Dedalus
4.72 | 15 ratings
Вижу Землю / LOOKING AT THE EARTH
Gunesh Ensemble
4.22 | 66 ratings
ALMA DE DIAMANTE
Spinetta Jade
4.16 | 106 ratings
SECRET STORY
Metheny , Pat
4.39 | 30 ratings
IZVIR
Izvir
4.14 | 139 ratings
CHICAGO (AKA CHICAGO II)
Chicago
4.20 | 70 ratings
SENTIMENTS
Iceberg
4.10 | 287 ratings
UNORTHODOX BEHAVIOUR
Brand X
4.86 | 12 ratings
GUILLAUME PERRET & THE ELECTRIC EPIC
Guillaume Perret & the Electric Epic
4.10 | 257 ratings
ONE OF A KIND
Bruford, Bill
4.28 | 44 ratings
CRNA DAMA
Smak
4.17 | 87 ratings
PAT METHENY & LYLE MAYS: AS FALLS WICHITA, SO FALLS WICHITA FALLS
Metheny , Pat
4.23 | 56 ratings
FERMÁTA
Fermáta
4.20 | 68 ratings
4TH
D.F.A.
4.18 | 75 ratings
INDÍGENA
Mar de Robles
4.22 | 56 ratings
RAHMANN
Rahmann
4.23 | 52 ratings
BELIEVE IT
Williams Lifetime, Tony
4.71 | 14 ratings
THE THIRD FRONTIER
Utopianisti
4.51 | 20 ratings
SLAV TO THE RHYTHM
Farmers Market
4.15 | 95 ratings
MILES DAVIS QUINTET: NEFERTITI
Davis, Miles
4.46 | 22 ratings
THE HOOK
Tolonen, Jukka
4.09 | 201 ratings
BLOW BY BLOW
Beck, Jeff
4.26 | 43 ratings
RUCNI RAD
Leb I Sol
4.24 | 45 ratings
YELLOW FIELDS
Weber, Eberhard
4.10 | 143 ratings
VISITATION
Pohjola, Pekka
4.10 | 135 ratings
MASQUES
Brand X
4.19 | 59 ratings
STRAIGHT TO THE KRANKENHAUS
Secret Oyster
4.16 | 69 ratings
PIHKASILMÄ KAARNAKORVA
Pohjola, Pekka
4.22 | 47 ratings
LOS ELEMENTALES
Arco Iris
4.11 | 111 ratings
METAL FATIGUE
Holdsworth, Allan
4.16 | 71 ratings
LAMBERTLAND
Tasavallan Presidentti
4.07 | 218 ratings
MOROCCAN ROLL
Brand X
4.47 | 20 ratings
THE FOLLOWING MORNING
Weber, Eberhard
4.18 | 57 ratings
VOLUME 1: CONTRE COURANT
Opus-5
4.11 | 99 ratings
HUASCARAN
Fermáta
4.11 | 106 ratings
EROTIC CAKES
Govan, Guthrie
4.18 | 56 ratings
OH YEAH!
Hammer, Jan
4.45 | 20 ratings
RITES
Garbarek, Jan
4.43 | 21 ratings
MUNDO FLOTANTE
Ontalva, Ángel
4.18 | 52 ratings
DUTY FREE AREA
D.F.A.
4.08 | 141 ratings
SEXTANT
Hancock, Herbie
4.11 | 91 ratings
CINQUE
Deus Ex Machina
4.14 | 68 ratings
KING CRIMSON SONGBOOK, VOLUME ONE
Crimson Jazz Trio
4.23 | 39 ratings
GATEWAY
Abercrombie, John
4.53 | 16 ratings
HALLUCINATION ENGINE
Material
4.61 | 14 ratings
AN ANXIOUS OBJECT
Mouse on the Keys

Jazz Rock/Fusion overlooked and obscure gems albums new


Random 4 (reload page for new list) | As selected by the Jazz Rock/Fusion experts team

DESCENDRE
Rypdal, Terje
ETNA
Etna
LIVE AT MONTEREY (DON ELLIS ORCHESTRA)
Ellis, Don
LAWRENCE OF NEWARK
Young, Larry

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Latest Jazz Rock/Fusion Music Reviews


 Anomaly by MCLUHAN album cover Studio Album, 1971
4.10 | 33 ratings

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Anomaly
McLuhan Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars MCLUHAN were a short lived band based out of Chicago who put out this one incredible album brimming with adventurous ideas and humour. It's clear these young College students were very intelligent and talented but I'm most impressed with the "out of the box" thinking when it came to their music and live shows. David Wright the trumpet player was the leader of this group and we also get sax, flute, clarinet, prominent bass, synths, organ and piano besides the usual instruments. We also get some guest tympani and xylophone. Man this is such a refreshing album to listen to and to think it was released in 1971. The music at times recalls KING CROMSON's debut and early ANEKDOTEN but also Frank Zappa and early CAMEL. The blasting horns do bring CHICAGO to mind at times. For me this is more of an Eclectic release although I do get that this has a Jazz flavour.

"The Monster Bride" is as David Wright mentions in the liner notes "A series of effects more like a film score than a song, it mixes elements of terror, comedy and beauty. Science marches on." It opens with floating organ as piano, bass and a melancholic horn joins in. It changes after a minute with piano, drums and a horn leading the way before kicking into gear before 2 minutes as the horns blast. It turns Zappa- like with xylophone before another change arrives with dissonant horns and a driving rhythm. Organ too before it turns surprisingly haunting with multi-vocal melodies before it kicks back in. A calm before 5 minutes with flute, a beautiful section. Reserved vocals a minute later reminding me of early KING CRIMSON and ANEKDOTEN. Love this stuff. The vocals stop and it starts to build around 7 1/2 minutes with horns, bass and drums standing out. Nice. Silence before 9 minutes as we get a funny monlogue with sound affects. Priceless! It kicks back in before 10 minutes with plenty of horns.

"Spiders(In Neals Basement)" gets it's title from a neighbour's basement that they used to rehearse in. Again David Wright's thoughts. "This piece combines a bizarre Latin feel with American Dixieland." Man this has such a groovy sound to it early on as the vocals and horns join in. Catchy stuff. Nice bass before 1 1/2 minutes as we get an instrumental section. The guitar starts to solo over top then the organ and horns take over. A calm follows then that American Dixieland vibe kicks in. Piano only 3 1/2 minutes in then it kicks back in with vocals and that Dixie flavour. That groovy sound from the start is back before 5 minutes with vocals. So good!

"Witches Theme" is led by horns and drums early on before it settles as reserved vocals join in. This reminds me of early CAMEL. Some spacey synths along with organ arrive before it kicks back in as themes are repeated. The guitar starts to solo over top 3 minutes in then synths replace the guitar before it kicks back in. Organ to the fore to 6 minutes in then it settles with flute leading the way, nice bass too. The vocals and that laid back sound return at 8 1/2 minutes before it kicks back in to end it. "A Brief Message From Your Local Media" opens sounding like the start of a movie before relaxed vocals, a beat, bass and floating organ take over. It's very KING CRIMSON and ANEKDOTEN-like. Then after 4 1/2 minute the music stops as we get a monologue about Henry Ford and the assembly line. A shuffling beat, bass and flute take over then horns as it builds. Vocals and plenty of horns before 7 1/2 minutes before a brief circus-like melody ends it.

This is such a charming recording that recalls the early days of Prog but with Jazz elements. And those intelligent lyrics and ideas show that this young band were wise beyond their years.

 Abraxis by ABRAXIS album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.95 | 5 ratings

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Abraxis
Abraxis Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

4 stars A mid-Seventies jazz/fusion band from Belgium, the superb Abraxis boasted musicians from other jazz-rock groups of the decade such as Pazop, Placebo and Waterloo, with keyboardist Charles Loos and bassist Jean-Paul Musette known to some prog fans as being members of Belgian band Cos, performing on their first album `Postaeolian Train Robbery' (but departed before the follow-up `Viva Boma'). Released in 1977, their fully instrumental debut is an enjoyable and impeccably performed mixture of flute dominated jazz, Canterbury inspired fusion, '70s funk and even a pinch of Zeuhl! As much of their music here was dominated by piano and flute, it gives `Abraxis' a frequent Focus-like quality in parts, actually quite classical and grand in a few moments here and there. Canterbury bands like Gilgamesh and the instrumental passages of National Health also come to mind, and definitely parts are still identifiable as Cos, although in a firmer jazz sound without the avant-garde vocal qualities and loopier elements of that band.

Brief opener `Clear Hours' is a more fusion-flavoured version of something that could have come off the first Camel album, a breezy and immensely likable tune with constantly twisting guitars, grumbling bass, peppy electric piano spirals and loopy synth trills all duelling back and forth with quickie little call-and-response soloing runs between each-other. The gently melancholic flute, dramatic piano and overall classical sophistication of the four-part sixteen-minute suite `Valse De La Mort' reminds instantly of the classic Seventies-era Focus albums, whimsical and reflective one moment, stirring with spontaneous improvised manic bursts the next. Humming bass, fiery nimble guitar licks, dreamy shimmering keyboards and rambunctious drumming all have their moments to shine in this exquisite piece.

`Sweetank' opens the second side and is the highlight of the disk, a delirious and splintering jazz-fusion tantrum crammed with funky swallowing Zeuhl-like bass, wiry electric guitar, glistening electric piano, huffing flute and loopy electronic breakdowns over thrashing drum spasms. Sadly it's over in barely 4 minutes, just a teasing fling that leaves you craving more! `Billy the Keith' is a laid-back romantic simmer-down with a slightly syrupy melody (but it's oh-so charming all the same), `Jeronimo' is a cheerful runaway electric piano and cheeky flute-peppered interlude, the almost seven minute `Bolle Winkel' is another lengthier fusion workout where all the musicians get ample soloing moments to shine, and the fleeting closer `Arhumba' is a playful piano/flute powered ditty.

Needless to say, the musicianship is consistently outstanding throughout `Abraxis', with the entire 37 minute LP flying by without a trace of inferior material emerging. A true obscure reissued gem that could not be more welcome, if a Canterbury/jazz-fusion flavoured mix of Focus, Camel and Cos with a pinch of Zeuhl sounds intriguing to you, track it down immediately!

Four stars.

 Agitor Lucens V by ARCO IRIS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.31 | 49 ratings

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Agitor Lucens V
Arco Iris Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ARCO IRIS were a band from Argentina who released at least three really good albums in the seventies including this double concept album from 1974. The music here is certainly varied with Jazz, Psychedelic, Symphonic and Folk being touched on. Unfortunately my copy isn't legit which I didn't know when I picked it up from an on-line vendor. Apparently this hasn't been released on cd and the recording I have features the track listing from the vinyl re-issue from 1975 but they somehow cut out about 15 minutes of music. So I'm not really impressed with how unprofessional my issue is but the music is another story.

"La Divina Madre" has some powerful organ to start as the guitar begins to solo tastefully over top. It calms right down after 2 1/2 minutes as the organ stops but it will return late. "La Morada De Los Dioses" has this relaxed beat with strummed guitar and laid back vocals which are in Spanish(and throughout this recording). I really like this song. "En Las Cumbres" is really something with that atmosphere, bass and picked guitar. The vocal melodies 2 minutes in are deep and add so much here. Percussion too. "Bas Bus" is a short uptempo horn led piece. "Si El Senor" continues with the horn driven music but we get vocals this time. Harmonica to the fore then vocal melodies before the sax and vocals return. "Bas Bus" is a reprise with some huge bass lines this time. "Aurora Boreal" is a folky track with reserved vocals. "Las Luces Eteras" is led by vocals and organ with some harmonies as well. Relaxed sax after 3 minutes during the instrumental section that will continue for over 10 minutes! Check out the guitar solo that seems to never end even when you think it has(haha). It starts 7 1/2 minutes in and man he lights it up at times. So good! "El Regreso Del Pajaro Dorado" is so impressive with the organ and guitar taking the spotlight.

"La Nave Madre" has a good beat with prominent bass as the flute starts to play over top. Some flashy keyboards will come and go as themes are repeated. "El Arcangel Miguel" has male vocal melodies in a relaxed and sparse soundscape. Some haunting vocal melodies follow which is so cool. It brightens though late to end it with multi-vocal melodies. "Agitor" is a slow paced piece with floating organ, cymbals, picked guitar and more. "Sendero De Marcahuasi" has what sounds like mandolin, bass and a beat as the vocals join in. Flute a minute in as the vocals stop but they return as contrasts continue. Sax then leads and it turns dissonant at times. Nice. I'm not sure about the song titles of the last three songs on my copy but the next song features a dark mood with bass, atmosphere and more. Vocals before a minute as it brightens some and the contrasts will continue. Great track! The next tune has upfront drumming and plenty of guitar before the tempo picks up 1 1/2 minutes in. The synths that follow are so uplifting. The final tune is really dominated at times by the sax and it does get dissonant. Some laughter and crazy vocal expressions 5 minutes in.

An album I really enjoy despite the issues I have with my copy. Some consistently good music that brought early FLOYD to mind more than anyone else, although as I mentioned earlier the music is quite varied.

 Svět Hledačů by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT; M. EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.30 | 102 ratings

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Svět Hledačů
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by maryes

5 stars How I've said in my 2 previous reviews about MODRY EFFEKT albums, while "Modry Effekt & Radim Hladik" is more fit in Prog Fusion category and "Svetanie' shows a more symphonic progressive rock approaching, "Svet Hiedacu" is their album more close of a Heavy-Prog style. In spite track 2 "Hledám své vlastní já" is totally played in keyboards, the album is full of incridible heavy guitars riffs ( or something like this), starting at the first track "Za krokem zen" which a very interesting guitar " flanger effect phrase" which appears for the first time in the track about 1 min 10 sec and returns in other moments ( one of the most detachable moments of whole album) but not only. Another of this moments be in track 3 "Rajky" is a passage in "Fugue" style in their initial part starting 1 min 19 secs played by guitar and keyboards ( simulating a bass / guitar duet ), In track 4 "Zmoudrení babím létem" the overture is fantastic and the middle section brings a beautiful ballad whitt electric and acoustic guitars with a "sumptuous" mellotron accompaniment. The last track shows a almost melancholic main theme with a intermission with guitar/keyboard/drums "explosive" space-rock part and return to the main theme with incredible vocals. In my humble opinion ( like "Svietanie" ) a perfect album . My rate is obviously 5 stars !!!!
 Svitanie by BLUE EFFECT (MODRÝ EFEKT; M. EFEKT) album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.27 | 119 ratings

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Svitanie
Blue Effect (Modrý Efekt; M. Efekt) Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The peak period of Blue Effect's career saw them wavering somewhere in the hazy border region between progressive rock and jazz fusion; on Svitanie, they seem deeper in more traditional prog rock territory than on either the preceding album (Benefit of Radim Hladik) or succeeding album (Svet Hledacu). Working in an instrumental prog territory that borders fellow Euro-prog workhorses like SBB or Finch, with perhaps some touches of Yes or Camel here and there, the album mostly consists of a series of traded solos between Radim Hladík on guitar and Oldřich Veselý on keyboards, the duo driving each other to further creative heights.
 The Following Morning by WEBER, EBERHARD album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.47 | 20 ratings

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The Following Morning
Eberhard Weber Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm not quite blown away by this one as I was by The Colours of Chloe, I think because by now Eberhard Weber had moved more away from the fusion-ish elements of that album into a more ECM chamber jazz style of almost ambient jazz. But that said, this whole ambient jazz thing works really remarkably well. Weber's double bass sonorously creates an aura of peace around itself which the other performers support with delicate, restrained performances. Not one to put on when you are in the mood for furious excitement, but if you want something a bit more meditative it could well hit the spot nicely.
 Sphére by FAFARD, ANTOINE album cover Studio Album, 2016
5.00 | 1 ratings

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Sphére
Antoine Fafard Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Squire Jaco

— First review of this album —
5 stars As I write this review, only the "limited edition" cd is available. I liked Fafard's last three albums so much that I opted to spend a little more and get this limited edition before the general September release. I'm really glad I did.

This is a stellar album all around. The packaging is beautiful and the liner notes are informative. This has three additional tracks that the regular release does not, and they are similarly wonderful. And the production is just top notch, top notch. It almost sounds like a drummer's album, they are mic'd so perfectly.

Not a long review here, but rest assured that this is some of Fafard's best songwriting, and he complements it with two great accompanying musicians in Gary Husband and Jerry DeVilliers Jr., sounding much like Allan Holdsworth in spots. Fafard takes the lead enough to please all bass-lovers (e.g. yours truly), but doesn't steal the show from the whole band.

I've been handing out 4 stars to each of his last solo albums. This one deserves the full 5.

 ELI (with Kaz Lux) by AKKERMAN, JAN album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.83 | 37 ratings

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ELI (with Kaz Lux)
Jan Akkerman Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by BunBun

5 stars "Because You're a Fly, Fly, That's Why"

This is an incredible album. I discovered this album through Jan Akkerman, who is, in my opinion, one of the greatest guitarists. He has a completely unique sound that is full of life. I had no idea who Kaz Lux was before I came across this album, but boy, this guy has one incredible voice which elevates this album from great to masterpiece. Each piece flows beautifully from one to another and feels apart of a cohesive whole.

I'm no expert in music, so bare with me. I really don't know the story behind this album but it comes across as a loose concept album about a man named Eli, and that is about all I got for ya. The album starts off with Lux's excellent vocals on 'Eli' and the music really doesn't kick in until a couple of minutes in, and even when it does, it is quite subtle. 'Guardian Angel' is a bit funky and jazzy, and 'There He still goes' is a bit disco flavored. Then tracks like 'Wings of Strings' and 'Fairytale' are quite ambient for me. Lux delivers his lyrics with such enthusiasm that I often find myself repeating them long after the album has shut off, trying my best to imitate his exact pronunciation of lines such as "Pur-fec-tion" and "Eli, Please." Overall, you won't find any display of technical virtuosity. There are no crazy guitar solos, no tony Bank like synths, no ten minute plus epic to munch on. In fact, this album focuses more on moods, and it is quite quirky. Some of the lyrics Lux sings might come across as rather odd like when he begins to recount a time when he killed a fly. "Yea, I've been watching a fly die. He didn't know why he had to die," yet it completely works. The best way to describe this album is subtle. The music is lush, surprisingly minimalistic (not to be confused with pop) yet never boring.

This is a masterpiece in my eyes. I love it from start to finish and there is something quite profound hidden within its quirks. The standout tracks being 'Eli' and "Naked Actress.' Please, give this a listen.

 Pop-Liisa 3 by WIGWAM album cover Live, 2016
4.05 | 2 ratings

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Pop-Liisa 3
Wigwam Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars During the years 1972 - 1977, the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE had a radio series in which Finnish groups performed a live set in the Liisankatu studio (Helsinki), in front of the audience. In 2016 Svart Records releases these gigs that haven't ever been broadcasted since the original airing. And what a hidden treasure there was in the YLE vaults! The groups in the "Pop Liisa" series include e.g. Tasavallan Presidentti, Jukka Tolonen Band, Kalevala, Nimbus, Finnforest, and even a couple of short-lived line-ups (of acclaimed musicians) that never released an album. Also the groups in the parallel "Jazz Liisa" series are mostly representing the legacy of the legendary Love Records. These releases have a high historical value, and also their sonic quality is much better than what average gig recordings of the time would have.

In Novembr 1973 it was WIGWAM's turn. The classic quartet of Jukka Gustavson (organ, vocals), Jim Pembroke (vocals, electric piano), Pekka Pohjola (bass) and Ronnie Österberg (drums) had just recorded their challenging masterpiece Being that was to be released three months later. The next summer both Gustavson and Pohjola would leave the group. Gustavson claims in the liner notes that despite the tormenting experience -- for example the bass drum broke down during the show and Ronnie was in a bad mood -- this was one of the best performances in that line-up. I believe that.

The opening track 'Imagine' (the John Lennon cover that Wigwam often permormed in their gigs) wasn't part of the original radio show: they had spare time before the appointed hour. The official opening number 'Nipistys' was from Pekka Pohjola's solo debut Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva (1972). Nearly 9 minutes of instrumental and very original fusion/jazz-rock with the virtuotic organ playing in the centre. After the line-up introduction by the show host Erkki Lehtola comes the charming little finale from Being, 'Marverly Skimmer' (aka 'Friend from the Fields') by Jim Pembroke. These first two performances aren't radically different from the album versions, except that the latter is a minute longer (3:40).

The album version of 'Fairyport' (Fairyport, 1971) has wonderful details with reeds, so Gustavson had to make a quartet arrangement for this superb prog classic. IMHO this version naturally pales in comparison, but as a live performance it is excellent nevertheless. The closing number 'Grass for Blades' originated from Jim Pembroke's debut solo album Wicked Ivory (1972); the gorgeous anti-war song became a Wigwam live classic for a good reason. Here it is 9 and ˝ minutes of powerful, dark emotions, extended from the rather modest original with the instrumental section. All in all, this live set is more or less the best one there is to be listened to from this quartet.

PS. Each full-length CD release of "Pop / Jazz Liisa" features two separate sets. This Wigwam set is paired with a five-track set of TAIVAANVUOHI, which was a jazz-rock quintet led by guitarist-composer Sami Hurmerinta. It's one of those groups that never released albums.

 Santana IV by SANTANA album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.71 | 41 ratings

BUY
Santana IV
Santana Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by PoolmanProgger

4 stars After years of collaborations - some of which were fantastic , others being duds - Carlos Santana finally got the band back together - the original band, that is! Welcome back Gregg Rolie, Michael Shrieve, Mike Carabello and Neal Schon. Santana IV marks the first album from this legendary lineup since 1971, so you can say that this album was 45 years in the making, thus the title, Santana IV, an obvious nod to the band's origins and a return to their original sound - and boy, does this album deliver!

My expectations for this album were rather high; in fact, I preordered it, something I rarely do. I must admit, on first listen, I was mildly disappointed. The band sounded uninspired at times, Gregg Rolie sounded a bit rusty, and the album seemed to drag on and on. But I would not give up on this album; I listened to it again, and again, and again and again. What are my conclusions after a half a dozen plus listens? Boy, was I ever wrong with my first impression! This album is gold, maybe not as great as the first three albums that the group used as an inspiration, but very strong. In fact, the only album I've bought/heard this year that's better is David Bowie's Blackstar. Santana IV has everything you'd expect from a vintage Santana album - Latin rhythm and grooves, hot guitar licks from Carlos - the Guitar Master - and excellent, fat-sounding organ playing - oh, man I missed that organ - from the one-and-only Gregg Rolie. Actually, his voice is still in pretty good form on this one, although the lyrics are rather creepy at times. Schon's rather distorted guitar playing complements Santana's smooth and clean sound very well, just as it does on Santana III, but I think the interplay is used to a fuller extent on this album. The percussion is AMAZING - but what else do you expect from a Santana album? Also, the two tracks ("Love Makes the World Go Round" and "Freedom in Your Mind") featuring Ronald Isley are very good, very soulful, but with lots of the typical Santana flash. This is just a mind-blowingly fantastic album.

Santana IV starts off with "Yambu", a very lively track which continues Santana's long line of "chant" songs, with crunchy guitar interplay between Santana and Schon, followed by "Shake It" and "Anywhere You Want to Go", two very good songs which are very reminiscent of Woodstock-era Santana. "Anywhere" features some excellent organ from Rolie, which sounds fantastic to anyone who has been jaded by the over-synthification of music these days. To hear a real, organic, down-to-earth organ solo is just good for the soul. "Fillmore East" an amazingly spacy and ambient track which recalls the jazzier part of Santana's sound, is next, a true highlight of the album, although it may take 3 or 4 listens - at least - to truly appreciate its greatness, as it did for me. Next are the two Ronald Isley tracks. Ron has lost a step or two on his vocals - give the guy a break, he's in his seventies - but he is picked up amply by the ferocious energy of Santana and the boys playing behind him. "Choo Choo" is a rather creepy song that sounds a tad bit pervy, but segues into the instrumental "All Aboard", which has quite an aggressive climax. Sueńos is another in the long line of Santana's classic instrumental pieces, while "Caminando" is a brisk piece which adds some horns, another old Santana trademark. "Blues Magic" is a FANTASTIC blues song, while the excellent "Leave Me Alone" is bookended by two more fabulous instrumentals, "Echizo" and "You and I". "Come as You Are" is the weakest link of this album, as it has a forced calypso sound that just doesn't work very well. Just when you think the boys don't have anything else left in the tank, here comes "Forgiveness", a fantastically ambient song in the vein of "Fillmore East", with some vocals from Gregg Rolie which sound eerily like Peter Gabriel. The song gives you chills, in a good way.

Wrapping up here, Santana IV is an excellent album which instantly ranks among the group's best, a stellar reunion album that just continues to get better with each and every listen. I highly recommend purchasing this album for your collection; you won't regret it for a second.

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